Okay, you guys weren’t as helpful as I had hoped in giving me starting points, but I’m giving you another chance with this batch for the lower elementary grades. These are also books I recommended to the summer reading list, thank you very much, so I know and love them. I’m just not sure how to start off the booktalk for all of them.
Clementine is easy, because I’ll read the first page. It sets up the story, shows Clementine’s personality, and displays the humor of the book. I’ll probably go from that right into Phineas MacGuire Erupts! as another book with humor and personality, but this time a boy. I’m not sure how I’ll start The Year of the Dog; I’m only sure that I’ll use it. Ditto for Akimbo and The Snakes, though it’s possible a rubber snake will be involved.
For Babymouse: Beach Babe, I’ll start by asking the second/third graders who’s going to the beach this summer. If I let a few of them tell me where, I could easily kill a couple of minutes. If I can find Are You Quite Polite in time, I’ll sing one of the songs probably the one from the library. If I locate Once I Ate a Pie, I’ll read a poem or two.
For first grade and maybe some kindergarten, I’ll start with fake sneezing/coughing to introduce Sniffles, Sneezes, Coughs and Hiccups. (This one I didn’t suggest, but I couldn’t resist the idea of opening with a sneezing fit.) I can ask the kids who has lost their first baby tooth to introduce I Lost My Tooth in Africa. (By the way, if you ask a question of kids younger then ten, remind them to put their hands down after they raise them. Kids will leave their hands up until all the blood rushes to their toes in the hopes that you will ask each and every one of them their particular story. I always go with this phrasing: “Hands up if you’ve lost your first baby tooth. Okay, hands down.”)
I’ll read from Snip, Snap: What’s That? and from Bats at the Beach. I’m thinking of giving them a new chipmunk song/action rhyme I learned and then telling them about the nonfiction book Chattering Chipmunks and other books about animals for beginning readers. If I get some good openers today for either these books or yesterday’s titles, I promise to put up audio of me and my kids doing the Chipmunk Song. It’s the catchiest thing ever.
I have to mention a story about the Chattering Chipmunks book, which I brought it home for my eight-year-old to read for fun and practice. In retrospect it may not have been the best choice of books for my family. We get to the line, “Have you seen chipmunks in your backyard?” She turns to me and says, “No, but the cats bring us dead ones.” True, very true.